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If going to the gas station fuels your concerns these days, you're not alone. Many factors have caused gasoline prices to fluctuate, including rising global demand for crude oil, tighter supplies and instability in some major oil-producing nations. The good news: Automakers are working to squeeze more miles out of a gallon of fuel and still meet customers' demands for powerful, fully equipped vehicles. The average vehicle today is 900 pounds heavier and twice as powerful as an early '80s model. According to one major American car company, the best way to save the most fuel and preserve performance is to combine advanced technologies into larger, higher-fuel-using vehicles. These include: • Active Fuel Management™, a technology developed by GM, which automatically lets the engine run on half of its cylinders when full power is not needed, such as at a stop light.
• Six-speed transmissions, which save fuel and boost performance because of their wider gear ratio spread. Besides making more vehicles that get 30 mpg or better on the highway, GM can help us reduce the use of gasoline and greenhouse gas emissions. GM is a leader in producing vehicles that run on E85 ethanol, a fuel mix of 85 percent U.-produced, renewable, grain-based ethanol and 15 percent gasoline.
Nearly 2 million of these are now on sale or on the road. E85 helps promote U. energy independence because for every 20 gallons of E85 fuel used, 17 of those are ethanol and only three are gasoline. More stations are selling E85, and more ethanol producers are getting into the business. The carmaker's hybrid vehicles include the Saturn Vue Green Line (available this summer) and the Saturn Aura Green Line, Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid, Chevy Tahoe and GMC Yukon Two-mode Hybrid, all available next year. You can save fuel by carpooling and combining errands, and following these tips: • Drive the speed limit to save fuel and your driving record. Higher speeds force your car to overcome more wind resistance, which eats more fuel. Every 5 mph you drive over 60 mph is like paying an additional 21 cents per gallon for gas. • Aggressive driving can cut gas mileage by 33 percent on the highway and 5 percent in town.
Chill out and watch the savings heat up. • Use cruise control on the highway to improve fuel economy by up to 10 percent.
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